Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

We start the month with some wonderful news. Four Fictive Dream stories have been included in the very best fifty British and Irish Flash Fiction (BIFFY50) 2018-2019. We’re delighted and our thanks to authors Niamh McCabe, Gary Duncan, Meg Pokrass and Jason Jackson.

But now it’s back to business. Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Stroud Short Stories is open for submissions until 29 September 2019

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Stroud Short Stories is open until the end of Sunday 29 September for submissions from Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire writers.

It’s free to submit and we will select ten stories to be read by their authors at our 19th event on Sunday 10 November at the 150-seater Cotswold Playhouse. Our last 13 events have all sold out.

The event is part of the 2019 Stroud Book Festival.

It’s an open theme this time so any subject matter, any style so long as it’s a short story of no more than 1,500 words.

Information about our rules and how to submit is on the SSS website.

Tickets, priced at £8, go on sale on the Playhouse website on 11 October.

The Shadow Booth: Vol. 4 open for pre-orders!

We’re thrilled to announce that The Shadow Booth: Vol. 4 will be published on 24 October 2019! There’s a suitably folk-horror vibe to this one, with new stories by Lucie McKnight Hardy (author of Water Shall Refuse Them), Charles Wilkinson, Jane Roberts, Gary Budden, Ashley Stokes and many more (full lineup below). Once again, we’ll be publishing as an ebook and a mass-market paperback, which should match your copies of Vols. 1, 2 & 3 perfectly on the shelf.

Pre-orders are open now through our online store. If you’ve enjoyed Vols. 1-3 (or are just a fan of strange, uncanny short stories), please take a moment to pre-order your copy.

We’ve also dropped the price of Vols. 1 & 2 through until October, so if you’ve fallen behind now is the perfect time to catch up! Vols. 1 & 2 are only £6.99 in paperback until 24 October, and all three volumes to date are only £2.99 as ebooks. It’s the perfect time to catch up on all those stories you missed, from the likes of Alison Moore, Kirsty Logan, Mark Morris, Aliya Whiteley, Robert Shearman, Chikodili Emelumadu, Richard V. Hirst and many, many others.

But we haven’t told you the most exciting part! The Table of Contents reads as follows:

  • The Devil of Timanfaya by Lucie McKnight Hardy
  • The Tribute by James Machin 
  • The Larpins by Charles Wilkinson 
  • Drowning by Giselle Leeb 
  • You Are Not in Kettering Now by Andrew McDonnell 
  • Hardrada by Ashley Stokes 
  • Defensive Wounds by James Everington 
  • The Verandah by Jay Caselberg 
  • The Salt Marsh Lambs by Jane Roberts
  • The Box of Knowledge by Tim Cooke 
  • His Hand by Polis Loizou 
  • Terminal Teatime by Anna Vaught
  • Collector of Games by Gary Budden 
  • One Two Three by Marian Womack

Hopefully you’re just as excited as we are. We think this might be the best volume yet. Don’t miss out.

Please show your support by pre-ordering your copy of The Shadow Booth: Vol. 4 here. 

(Ebook pre-order here.)

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

The Gestation of my book of short fiction “Melting Point” by Baret Magarian (Salt)

Eight years ago I was on a flight to Larnaca, Cyprus about to start a holiday in the company of friends. There was something faintly momentous about my feeling of excitement and liberation from the daily habits and deadening routines that normal life can slip into.  About two hours into the flight another faintly momentous thing happened, sliding out from under the tired, calloused epidermis of the quotidian. It was almost imperceptible, an undefined tension in the stomach, a fluttering of emancipating excitement.  I half recognised that feeling, though it wasn’t wholly familiar. I pulled out my Macbook and began to write, and after an hour and a half I had a more or less complete story before me (the story would eventually be titled “Clock” ; it is the sixth in the collection). It needed some shuffling, some polishing, a bit of polyster, maybe a few injections of literary botex, but I had the “thing in itself”, the essential bolus of the piece in front of me. I was rather pleased, never having experienced this kind of creative ease before. Intercourse, fertilisation, conception, incubation, delivery – they were all concentrated, distilled into those one and a half hours.

I can’t really account for it. But then, while I was on holiday, the same thing happened on two other occasions. More or less complete stories more or less fell out of me, or my brain, or what remains of it.  Maybe it was something to do with the Cypriot breezes, the mezedes, or the penumbra of peace that slid over my consciousness like a mystical lover in the night. After the third of these epiphanic creative bursts I began to realise that I might have embarked on that long, vexing, wonderful, self-cannibalising journey also known as the composing of a book.  Now many ideas for stories were popping up like mushrooms, all demanding to be developed and realised. It was rather wonderful and mysterious and I started two, three, four stories in a spirit of excitement and mild delirium.

On a few other occasions other stories “wrote themselves.” I remember very clearly that before I began to write them I had absolutely no idea of what the stories would be about, no idea of what the basic story or plot was, or of who the characters were. I somehow managed to pluck deep into some subterranean crucible of molten creativity and pull out these little nuggets of narrative. Other stories – the longer ones in Melting Point – were more recalcitrant, and had to be planned, structured, meditated upon. Notes were made, diagrams drawn, snatches of dialogue containing important ideas or plot developments jotted down. But throughout all this I was always careful to work on several stories simultaneously, to juggle different projects, so as not to get stuck on just the one story, so as not to become obsessive about finishing it. I wanted to push hard against the threat of writer’s block by fuelling this frenzy of diverse activity. By keeping up the heat I was able to thrawt the forces of inertia and stasis. I may have been influenced in terms of this multi-faceted approach by something Roberto Bolano had once said regarding the importance of writing stories not one at a time, but simultaneously.  In any case it was a very happy writing experience on the whole and relatively free of the doubts and vexations that had assailed me during the writing of my first book The Fabrications.

As I reflect on the (not always, but often) trance-like ease of the composing of Melting Point it seems to me that the following might be of elucidatory value: perhaps after studying literature and attempting to write it for many years the shape of its tropes, structures, devices begin to become in some way ingrained in one’s mind, become, so to speak, second nature and one arrives eventually at an intuitive place beyond the rational and empirical. And at this point it becomes possible to create something without so much obvious planning. Obviously, however, one cannot finish a book while always being in the delirium of white heat inspiration – the process of revision, expansion, problem-solving, stylistic polishing: all of these require full frontal, stone cold sober deliberation. But I do think that what happened to me in terms of the initial stages of writing Melting Point may have had its basis in a kind of abdication of the cerebral part of creation, a giving in to something far more spontaneous, emancipated and – ultimately – mysterious.

     I’m very glad it happened.

 

Baret Magarian is a British Armenian writer who divides his time between Florence and London. His first book “The Fabrications” was extensively and favourably reviewed. Jonathan Coe, writing about Melting Point, observed: “We find here the irony, moral ambiguity and self-interrogation of writers like Kafka, Pessoa and Calvino.” Find out more here.

 

Plug into FaxFiction

Old technology – we all used it, and it’s still there: cassette tapes, floppy discs, videos, 35mm slides, overhead projectors, Ansaphones, games consoles, View-Masters, faxes, Dictaphones, reel to reel, Ceefax… How did we function with these ancient machines, these relics of the future?

Hopefully these six writers hold the answer: Writer-in-Residence at Manchester’s Victoria Baths Sarah-Clare Conlon, Sawn-off Tales author David Gaffney, John Rylands Library Writer-in-Residence Rosie Garland, Creative Writing lecturer Valerie O’Riordan, Bad Language host Fat Roland and Nicholas Royle, series editor of Best British Short Stories.

FAXFICTION 2019

FAXFICTION 2019

In FaxFiction, six brand-new short stories will focus on old technologies, and will each be performed using artefacts gathered especially for the event. Made uniquely for the Refract:19 festival, which takes place annually at Greater Manchester arts centre Waterside, this unique show on Saturday 27 July will also feature the live premiere of an installation commissioned from sound artist Gary Fisher.

Tickets cost £8 (£6 concessions) – book here.

Fictive Dream call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition 2020

SSC20 flyer
Thursday 1st August 2019
will see the launch of the seventh Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition hosted by the award-winning charity InterAct Stroke Support.

 

The competition asks writers to write a piece in any genre in no more than 1000 words. The winner of the competition will receive £1000 and will be commissioned to write four further stories for InterAct Stroke Support over the course of one year. The closing date for submissions is 5pm on Monday 2nd December 2019 and first place will be awarded at the winner’s ceremony on Tuesday 3rd March 2020, InterAct’s 20th birthday. This year the competition will be judged by esteemed novelist Margaret Drabble.

 

Entries can be submitted by email or post and the submission fee is £15.00 per story. Please find more details and terms and conditions of entry on the InterAct Stroke Support website: https://www.interactstrokesupport.org/ssc2020

 

Previously shortlisted competition entrants have been published alongside authors such as Ruth Rendell, Toby Young and Nell Dunn in our illustrated collection of short stories and poems, Interactions, which is available to purchase on our website: https://www.interactstrokesupport.org/shop

 

InterAct Stroke Support is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting stroke recovery by using professional actors to deliver hospital readings and community projects. InterAct specialises in delivering stimulating and inspiring short stories specially selected to suit the needs of stroke patients.  The readings are designed to assist recovery by improving mood, stimulating the brain and providing much-needed entertainment.

Liars’ League: INFINITY & BEYOND short stories, Tuesday 11th June

Infinity symbol or sign. Abstract night sky background

WE HAVE LIFT-OFF! Liars’ League‘s sci-fi-flavoured special to commemorate 50 years since the moon landings features five forward-looking stories exploring the ultimate theme. Teleport into The Phoenix, Cavendish Square on Tuesday 11th June to experience deep spacetime-travel tourismcryogenics gone wrongvanishing clones, astronautical ambitions and a terrifying game of Murder in the Dark …

INFINITY & BEYOND WINNING STORIES
London 2025 by Wan Shinfah NEW AUTHOR, read by Cliff Chapman
Proxima Centauri by Oliver Parkes NEW AUTHOR, read by Greg Page
How to be an Astronaut by Alice Franklin, read by Gloria Sanders
The Martlet by Abigail Lee, read by Lois Tucker
Frozen Futures by Rhys Timson, read by Tony Bell

Usual NASA rules apply: doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are £5 on the door (currently cash only, sorry, but there’s a cashpoint 2 minutes away). Entry includes a programme, participation in our infamous book quiz where fantastic science fiction can be won, and of course all the Flying Saucers you can eat. Drinks and food are available at the bar throughout. There’s no pre-booking, but tables for four or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535.

The venue is the downstairs bar at: The Phoenix Pub, 37 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PP

Accessibility note: Access to the basement is via stairs: there’s no lift, sadly. The Phoenix is 5 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central lines

Issue 13 available + call for submissions

Issue 13 of The Nottingham Review is now available to read online here!

Featuring original short fiction by Jason Jackson, Chelsea Stickle, Richard Berry, Spencer Litman, Sudha Balagopal, Jim Toal, Gerard McKeown, Emily Zido, Alicia Sometimes and Emma Venables.

Call for submissions

We are also now open for submissions of fiction between 100 and 3000 words (no theme) until the end of June. Submission guidelines can be found here.

The Hunters Grimm- a storyhunting show in the streets of London

Bernadette Russell of White Rabbit  joins the wonderful Teatro Vivo cast in “The Hunters Grimm” a promenade performance in the streets of Catford and Stratford, London,aiding Jacob and Wilhem Grimm along with their companion Dot Wilde, in their search for a story of hope with a happy ending. Such stories seem in short supply in our troubled times….

The Hunters Grimm on the streets

The Hunters Grimm on the streets

Come and join us on our search! Who knows who you might meet on the way: a beggar Prince, Rapunzel now working in sheltered housing as a single mum, a young jobseeker in pursuit of 12 dancing princesses, a hungry wolf reminiscing about his glory days as a restaurant critic,  a step mother who needs a Kardashian make over….and many more

Dates are:

Stratford- 30th May- 1st June- please go here for more details and tickets

 

Catford- 6th-16th June- please go here for more details and tickets

 

For a tantilising taster go here

The Child in Society

Weekend of Fiction Writing & Reading with Claire Keegan

Amber Springs Hotel, Gorey, Co Wexford

June 29 & 30, 2019children

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. Nelson Mandela

For two days, Claire Keegan, author of Foster (Faber & Faber) will explore fiction writing through the linked theme of The Child in Society. Discussion will include the rights of the child, having and not having children, fathering, mothering, fostering, adopting and neglecting children. Participants will be asked to imagine being a boy, a girl, a parent, a child minder – and undoubtedly there will be talk around housing, fathering, contraception, pregnancy, money, hunger, mothering, sleep and what it means to love and be loved, to mind and to be minded — from different points of view. The lecture will explore and display how time, tension, drama, dialogue and narrative structure are put to use in the following:

Jude the Obscure, a novel by Thomas Hardy

The River,” a story by Flannery O’Connor

Sleepyhead,” a story by Chekov, translated by Constance Garnett

The Widow’s Son,” by Mary Lavin.

Vera Drake, a film by Mike Leigh

Tuition 350 euro. Reservations can be made by emailing ckfictionclinic@yahoo.com

For more information, go to ckfictionclinic.com

I Heart Short Stories

This year the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award celebrates its tenth year as one of the world’s most significant prizes for short fiction.

Over the last decade, we’ve not only helped champion the form, but also, particularly because we read stories anonymously, discovered many fresh new writers who had not previously been given a platform – everyone from Roshi Fernando and Rebecca F John to Sally Rooney, who got her first shortlisting from the award.

Now we want to expand our commitment, with regular digital posts about everything to do with the short story under the banner of I Heart Short Stories. On our website over the next months you will find monthly news and views about short story writing and writers, interviews with authors, features on the short story landscape, and guest slots written by those with things to say about short story writing.

Already we have had news round ups, a long feature on short stories in the south west of England plus interviews with our prestigious winners such as Yiyun Li and C.K. Stead.

We have just announced our judges for the award – Sarah Churchwell, Kit de Waal, Carys Davies and Blake Morrison – and we’re hoping to have a piece from one of them to fill you in on the judging process. Also we would be delighted to hear about blogs from anyone with something to say about the short story. If you have any ideas please email shortstoryaward@sunday-times.co.uk or get in touch with us via Twitter.

This is all part of our determination, with the help of our sponsor Audible, to help make the short story a more central part of the literary landscape.

You’ll see everything we do under the “I Heart Short Stories” banner and #IHeartShortStories. And there’ll be more to see on Twitter at @shortstoryaward.

Dive in to Weekend of Words

Manchester’s iconic Victoria Baths is open for writing business on Friday 7, Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2019, when the heritage pool and washhouse complex will be echoing with original voices thanks to a brand-new festival, Weekend Of Words.

As well as writing workshops – including flash fiction with Some Of Us Glow More Than Others author Tania Hershman at the helm – immerse yourself on Saturday with six brand-new short stories, specially commissioned for the event and taking the Baths as their jump-off point.

Grab a drink and a deckchair, sit back and enjoy a backdrop of magical projections and the writers in your midst: Victoria Baths’ inaugural Writer-in-Residence Sarah-Clare Conlon, Kate Feld, co-host of literary podcast The End Of All Things, Sawn-off Tales flash fiction master David Gaffney, Phil Olsen of Sabotage Reviews, Somerset Maugham Award-winner Joe Stretch, and Lara Williams, author of short story collection Treats and novel Supper Club.

All the ticketing links for Saturday’s events are here; wade in.

Weekend Of Words also marks the official launch of the Victoria Baths Splash Fiction Competition, complete with cash prize. Anyone can take the plunge – find out more here.

 

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

How Fiction Works: A Study of Narrative Using Works by John McGahern

Linenhall Library, Belfast. May 13 & 14, 2019. 10am–5pm, both days.
Claire Keegan will direct this fiction writing course using works by John McGahern to explore and demonstrate the mechanics of writing and narrative structure.

1. The Leavetaking

2. “Christmas”

3. “Parachutes”

4. “The Conversion of William Kirkwood”

How do stories begin? How and why does an author make an incision in time and build tension? How is a reader drawn into a narrative? Why is a reader sometimes not drawn in at all? Keegan will discuss the structure of a narrative and go into what she calls the much-neglected middle, the trunk of the story. Are endings natural? Why do stories need to end, to find a place of rest? The discussion around endings will focus on falling action, emotional consequences and inevitability. Participants will also examine the differences between the short story and the novel. This course will be of particular interest to those who write, teach, read or edit fiction — but anyone with an interest in how fiction or reading works is welcome to attend. To book your place, contact ckfictionclinic@yahoo.com  Tuition is £300. A 50% deposit secures.

 

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Claire Keegan’s story collections include Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards. Her debut, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. “These stories are among the finest stories recently written in English,” wrote the Observer. Walk the Blue Fields, her second collection, was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year in 2010, and won the Edge Hill Prize, awarded to the strongest collection published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. New Yorker readers chose Foster as their story of the year. It was also published in Best American Stories is now on the school syllabus in Ireland. Keegan has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents.

Call for Submissions: Pixel Heart Literary Magazine – Issue Three: Nature

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Pixel Heart Literary Magazine is currently open for submissions for its third issue, on the theme of ‘Nature’.

The magazine publishes flash fiction (under 750 words), poetry (of any length), and short stories (1,000 – 2,500 words).

There is no submission fee, and submissions are open to all – experienced and new writers alike.

Pixel Heart Literary Magazine is dedicated to publishing writers who are disabled, LGBT, and/or writers of colour, as well as writers from a working-class background. While all submissions will be considered with great care, if writers state in their submission email that they are any of the above, then their submission will be given a little extra attention.

For our more specific submission guidelines and info on how to submit, please click here. Submissions for Issue Three are currently open until midnight BST on May 31st, 2019. ❤

Masterclasses and author talks for short fiction lovers

For five years Novel Nights has been at the forefront of live lit in Bristol & Bath, programming author talks with authors like Maggie Gee and Nathan Filer.

This year we’re launching masterclasses, taught by experienced academics and writers. Tom Vowler will teach our first class, From Spark to Flame: Forging The Short Story on 27th April.  Tom is short fiction editor at Unthank Books, has published two short story collections and his third novel is out soon. He teaches at Arvon Foundation and Plymouth University.

“A masterclass to unlock some of the mysteries of this dazzling literary form. Aimed at both emerging and published writers, the class will explore how stories are crafted, how you can bring them to life, give them voltage and vitality.” 

On September 8th, Vanessa Gebbie will lead a day-long flash-fiction masterclass in Bristol. Tickets in advance.

“An in-depth look at flash fiction, aimed at any writer who is interested to start or continue an exploration of this sparkling form. You will create  many fresh pieces thanks to tried and tested games and exercises –  your tutor never asks you to share your writing, so you are unencumbered as you play freely and focus on meeting your new characters, voices and forms within forms.” Vanessa Gebbie has won awards for both prose and poetry, including a Bridport Prize and the Troubadour. Author of ten books, including five collections of short fictions, two of poetry and a novel, she is also commissioning and contributing editor of Short Circuit: Guide to the Art of the Short Story (Salt).

Novella-in-flash author talk 

On May 11th we’ve invited Michael Loveday, judge of the 2019 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award, to discuss writing a Novella-in-Flash and to share insights into the judging process.

Tickets only £8.50 from Novel Nights. Square Club, Bristol. BS8 1HB. Flash writers are welcome to submit to read

 

 

 

Write a Book in June. It’s doable!

30 days

30 Days of Writing is a practical online course for writers who’d enjoy the challenge of putting together a book in a month.

The course is especially suited to anyone who’d like to take on a short story project not necessarily linked to a book project you’re working on. It’s an opportunity to create that passion project you’ve been mulling over for years, and to explore different concepts of what consitutes a book.

The course is run by the writer Shaun Levin, who is also the editor of The A3 Press, a new chapbook press, and the creator of Writing Maps.

The online course is devised so that you can start a project from scratch and complete a first draft by the end of June. The course is a month-long commitment, and will benefit anyone who’d like the inspiration and support to write daily for 30 days alongside other writers from around the world.

To find out more about the course, please click here.

Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, hybrid writing, creating comics or illustrations, we’ll look at how to create a layered and dynamic work. Some of the elements we’ll focus on will include: movement in time and place, conflict and tension, chronology and tone, as well as ways to enhance your text through research and the inspiration of genre companions.

The primary focus throughout the course will be your daily practice of writing and the creation of your book.

Dates: 1 June – 1 July 2019

Fee: £260 (£200 early-bird rate before 30 April)

limited to 15 participants

About the tutor: Shaun Levin is the author of Snapshots of The Boy, A Year of Two Summers and Seven Sweet Things, amongst other books. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years and has worked closely with writers at all stages of their journey towards publication.

 

Reading Short Stories

Every year Dahlia Publishing hosts two students from the University of Leicester for a 10 week placement. The scheme run by the university provides students with an opportunity to gain work experience in a small press to enhance their learning. Students often work remotely and are supported by editor Farhana Shaikh to pursue a personal project – something where they can channel their interests and make a difference. During the 2018/19 academic year we were joined by Amira Richards who had an interest in editing. Following our Short Story September project we were inviting short stories to read and Amira was keen to work on this. Our meetings were joyous – filled with passionate response for the work we’d pondered over, and often found ourselves battling with the question: what makes a short story?  Here’s Amira on what she learnt during the process… 

Writing short stories can be hard and surprisingly reading them can require the same kind of effort. From a personal perspective, knowing what to look for, what works about a story and what doesn’t is a process that one must discover for themselves. Everyone reads differently.

For my placement I have had the opportunity to read many submissions for Short Story September. I have really enjoyed learning what people like to write about and what urges them to produce a piece of work that will be read by other people. I have learnt that people like to write about the mundane but also the extraordinary and the little things in between. There are stories that captured my attention straight away, and others that left me feeling a little unsatisfied.

However, the most important thing I have learnt is that stories – especially short ones – need a purpose. They need to illustrate a clear message to the reader, which doesn’t have to be personal but nevertheless allows the reader to understand why the story was written. I found that the stories with a clear aim and purpose were the ones that were the most pleasant to read. I understood why the writer decided to send the story in and what they were trying to convey through each carefully formulated sentence.

“The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something that feels important to the reader.” ~ John Steinbeck

So when you write a short story, think about what you want to convey. I would love to see stories that not only show me something but also make me question myself as a reader. And while short stories can lack the detail and intricate backstories of longer works, in my opinion, a good ending makes a short story. Think about how you want to end your story and how it relates to the content as a whole. After all, they are short for a reason. But short doesn’t mean lesser just as long doesn’t guarantee better. I look forward to reading more short stories in the future and urge writers to never stop practising.

Amira Richards is currently reading English at University of Leicester. 

Dahlia Publishing is currently inviting submissions to the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2019 until 15th April 2019.